A man arrested on suspicion of racially abusing Oldham midfielder Tom Adeyemi during a game against Liverpool will not be charged with an offence, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.
The man, aged 20 and from Aintree, Liverpool, was arrested after match officials made a complaint to Merseyside Police. During the second half of the FA Cup third-round fixture on January 6, Adeyemi appeared to take offence at something shouted from the Kop stand at Anfield.
Adeyemi, who is on loan from Norwich, alleged a fan had shouted a racially abusive comment at him as he retrieved the ball from near the crowd. The 20-year-old reported the incident to the referee; the referee notified the fourth official, who then notified the police.
The CPS said that after police interviews with the footballer and the suspect, and viewing ''enhanced'' CCTV footage, there was insufficient evidence to bring any criminal charges.
In police interviews, he admitted shouting at the player, but denied it was of a racial nature. Witness statements from others in the crowd ''tend'' to support the man's version of events, the CPS said.
Jane Roden, Head of the Complex Casework Unit at CPS Merseyside, said: ''I have considered a file of evidence submitted by Merseyside Police, relating to an incident which occurred when Liverpool and Oldham Athletic met in the FA Cup.
''I have viewed the extensive CCTV footage available, which has been enhanced to isolate and improve the sound.
''I have also read statements from Mr Adeyemi, the match officials and the many independent witnesses to the incident, many of whom came forward after the game to offer their evidence after hearing media reports of the incident.
''There are two important factors I have relied upon when making my decision: the enhanced CCTV footage and the high proportion of witness statements which tend to support the suspect's version of events.
''On the balance of all of the evidence, I have therefore concluded that there is insufficient evidence to bring any criminal charges in this case and I have advised Merseyside Police of my decision.''
Oldham have accepted the decision of the CPS not to pursue the case.
"Oldham Athletic Football Club would like to thank Merseyside Police and the Crown Prosecution Service for a thorough and painstaking inquiry,'' director Barry Owen said in a statement on the club's official website.
"The events of the evening were unsavoury in respect of the incident, but should not detract from a fantastic night for our players and spectators alike.
"As a club, we accept the difficulties for all concerned investigating a matter such as this and, without reservation, accept the decision.
"I have not been able to discuss the issue with the player, but I am sure his agent or legal representative will make any comment they deem necessary.''